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To Love and To Loathe
by Martha Waters
Published: April 6, 2021
Series: The Regency Vows
Category: Historical Romance
Tags: Enemies to Lovers, Tortured Hero, Bet
Boyfriend Rating: 💍💍💍
Amazon | Goodreads
The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of are well known in high for their bickering and flirtation. One evening, an argument at a ball turns into a serious wager: Jeremy will marry within the year or Diana will forfeit one hundred pounds.
Shortly after, Jeremy poses a new arrangement to Diana – a brief affair between the two for Diana to evaluate his skills in the bedroom which have been called into question. Taking him up on this suggestion may get Diana closer to winning their wager or closer to losing her heart.
While I loved the set up of this book, it failed to deliver as expected.
I’m a huge fan of “relationship coach” romance books as I call them where one character is a bit inept in the ways of the bedroom and finds he/she needs some tips from another. I loved how the rake with quite the reputation is the one who’s skills are called into question in this book!
Unfortunately, while this was the reason for Jeremy and Diana’s tryst, it took a back seat for most of the book. I wanted more attempts at lessons but we got TWO!
If there was more to this “relationship coach” aspect to the story, I think it would give more opportunities to grow their connection and feelings for each other which instead took a 180 degree turn in mere days after two lackluster evenings together. More would have made this about face believable in both characters, especially when other storylines detracted from this plotline.
Plus, I really liked their banter and more of these coaching scenes would have been perfect fodder for this great banter!
While Waters is a skilled writer, I also felt that the book got a bit wordy at times to the point I found myself skipping sentences to get to the point.
Diana’s friends’ issues were intriguing (I did not read the first book in this series which was Violet’s story and I see a third book coming to give Emily’s story), but the whole business with Diana trying to set Jeremy up with Lady Helen got annoying and repetitive.
As for the main characters themselves, I liked the backstories for Diana and Jeremy and their reasons for shunning matrimony but they were only briefly discussed and eclipsed by the other needless storylines when they could have been more prominent.
I am a lover of strong heroines in historical romance and Diana fits this distinction however I found it difficult to like her. Yes, she could hold her own with Jeremy and I love a good bet between friends, yet she was a bit snobbish and is definitely not one to keep a secret.
I went into this read wanting to love it but unfortunately the things that grated are what stand out to me as I write this review.
*Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced reader copy. All opinions are my own.
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